Revenge in relationships – the consequences

Posted by Laura Bennett on
In recent weeks by the BBC drama 'The People v OJ Simpson' has gripped the nation.

The most recent episode was particularly distressing to watch; Marcia Clark, the lead prosecution attorney, was the subject of vile press coverage regarding her appearance. It is difficult to comprehend that only twenty years ago a professional woman, taking the lead in the 'trial of the century', could have been so personally vilified in the press and, most disturbingly, by her contemporaries.  In addition to this, the storyline then portrayed how Marcia's ex-husband leaked nude photographs of her to the press.  The scene where Marcia was portrayed sobbing on the floor of her office was deeply upsetting; the actions of her ex-husband were an awful betrayal. 

The availability of social media means that it is no longer just celebrities who are targeted by hackers and the press; instead anyone can now be a target. Many readers will be aware that the government in the UK have taken steps to combat the release of personal images and videos, or as it is better known, 'revenge porn'.  It is now an offence under section 33 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 to share private, sexual materials, either photos or videos, of another person without their consent and with the purpose of causing embarrassment or distress. A person convicted under this state can be imprisoned for up to two years.

Unfortunately, this is a situation which has arisen in one of my cases this year. My client had allowed images to be taken, but then later received a threat that these would be exposed.  Fortunately, the images were not made public in this case.  However, if the images had been released this would have been enormously distressing for my client and the children of the family.   

I have written previously about the Serious Crimes Act 2015 and how this interrelates with the work of the Family team at Blake Morgan. It is clear that the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 also relates to the work that we undertake as practitioners; the unauthorised publication of personal images and videos by a husband or wife would certainly demonstrate that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. 

Any concerns regarding the unauthorised distribution or sharing of images should be reported to the police immediately.  

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Photograph of Laura Bennett

Laura is a Senior Solicitor in the Family team based in Oxford.

Laura Bennett
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01865 258052

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